Thursday, 9 January 2014

Let them be children, give them time to grow

It's a New Year, and we look froward to meeting all those little ones that are due to join us this year. So today I've written a blog for parents, be they old hands or first timers. These words are mine, they're not here to advise or lecture, but I hope they make you think!

They're so small
Now that I have a child, the whole world is a different place.

Being a parent changes you like nothing else in the world, this tiny human brings you a new perspective on everything. It doesn't matter how many books you read, classes you take or advice you are given; somehow you are never prepared.

The first few months are hard, you have this new responsibility - this tiny human whose cries vibrate around your heart and you'll do everything in your power to stop them being upset, to make everything right for your child.

Sometimes I changed to her favourite
Shuktara blanket to help calm her down
Except you don't know how, and your tiny human can't tell you how... and since you're not sleeping a full 6-8hrs a night it becomes really hard to guess. You read internet pages about week 1, week 2, week 3... everyone is telling you how your baby should be developing. No-one tells you why your baby has woken up grumpy and crying. Eventually you fall back on 'Hungry? Try feeding. Uncomfortable? Try changing. Scared? Hold baby and rock. Bright light? Move to a dark room / shady spot...Overworked? Perhaps a drive in the car' The guesses continue and sometimes a combination of all the things you try will work, sometimes they wont. You'll keep trying & never give up.

For each parent this tiny human takes your primary focus in life, so it's easy to forget little things like where you put down your glasses / house keys / coffee. It's often said that us women give birth to our brains, well we don't - it's just our entire focus is taken up by our child. Everything else is insignificant in comparison & with the sleep deprivation we just don't care about trivial things. We're trying to survive and do the best for our child.

Everyone you know is trying to help you survive your child growing up. People will bombard your email / Facebook / Google+ accounts with internet quotes & advice, and this doesn't stop when they're past the infant crying stage. Your friends & family have the best will in the world and all will wade in with their advice, observations, and well meant help. Nobody knows your baby like you do. You have to trust your instincts, learn what your baby needs - you know best. Really you do!

Dance in rainbows, enjoy childish things
My latest 'internet advice' is to smack my pre-school 3 year old to correct her behaviour, you may have seen it...smacking is supposed to result in respect for others. Babies arrive with their own basic, primeval personality - their neural pathways for basic survival are already there (fear, hunger, love, etc). Over the next 5 years they'll fine tune who they are with experiences & example; you can help shape the future but you'll never be able to change their core personality - literally their brains are not 'wired up' that way. Take care & remember that until they are 5, they're still learning - behaviour is a form of communication not a way to "get what they want" or "annoy".

I believe smacking a child that's upset will not result in 'respect for others'; it will not teach the child how to deal with the cause of the upset or help your child deal with the situation when it arises again in a more controlled manner. Until a child has learnt how to deal with a situation, every child needs to be guided through how to react. You as parents will know when your child is testing your boundaries; refusing to put on pyjamas at night, not eating supper but requesting sweets instead... Scenarios your child knows & usually behaves for but tries to change to their current will, well then you have to be strong and correct their behaviour as you see fit.

Being a parent is hard, but the rewards are immeasurable. I believe that you have to take care of yourselves, slow down and spend time with your little one. Help your child learn, show them by example the person you want them to be, include them in your family & friends activities, and enjoy their company. Fill them with a passion for life, a sense of wonder and self confidence to try new things. My child shows me a new way of seeing the world; we laugh, dance in rainbows and regularly go on adventures. We enjoy childish things because soon she'll want to do something else, something a little more grown up; like start her own family.

Thoughts in a faraway place

The Shuktara blankets & Rainbow makers are available, along with other child toys, at

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